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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: TONYMOLY Magic Food Strawberry Mushroom Sugar Scrub (Now at Ulta)

You know the drill. You want to place an online order at Ulta because of a deal/discount/freebie offer, and you're close to meeting the $50 free shipping threshold but you're not quite there. So you look around the site thinking, "What else do I really want, that I can add to this order?"

Enter this TONYMOLY facial scrub.

TONYMOLY Magic Food Strawberry Mushroom Sugar Scrub
(retail: $16.50 at Ulta, 2.36 oz.)

So I ended up buying this facial scrub online at Ulta (it's not a body scrub; it's for the face) when I was $13 away from free shipping. I picked this product because:

1. I love everything I've tried so far from TONYMOLY (see my reviews here and here).

2. I love anything strawberry.

3. That packaging though.

Yes, $16.50 is pricey for 2.36 oz. of facial scrub. But I used one of Ulta's $3.50 off $15 codes (401534 is valid right now) to get the price down to $13. Not as bad, right? Plus, since it's a facial scrub, you don't need much per application, and I'm actually surprised by how long this has lasted me after repeated uses.

NOTE: you can also purchase this scrub from Cult Beauty, KoreaDepart (ships from Korea so it will take a few weeks), on Amazon (ships from Korea so it will take a few weeks; I have not purchased from that seller before) and from eBay (all sellers ship from Korea so again, it will take a few weeks).

Made in Korea

Korean consumer products like food and beauty items are not stamped with expiration dates, like in the US. In Korea, the date on the package is the MANUFACTURED date, which I actually find more useful for beauty products, don't you? As you can see, my scrub was manufactured on 10/24/16. So barely four months old as of time of publication. 

As you can see, the directions do not indicate that you should wet your face before application. I'll get into that more in a bit but I just wanted to call that to your attention.

Ingredients (from the Ulta website):

Glycerin Source, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Fragaria Chiloensis (Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Seed, Phenoxyethanol, Corthellus Shiitake (Mushroom) Extract, Inonotus Obliquus (Mushroom) Extract, Tricholoma Matsutake Extract, Water, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, Caramel, Buteth-3, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate, Tributyl Citrate, CI 17200.

As you can see, there are actual strawberry and mushroom extracts in this formula.

The packaging itself is, aside from being adorable, very substantial. It's made of hard, thick plastic, and feels nice and solid in the hand. It's heavy, but not as heavy as if it were made of glass. It definitely does not feel cheap.

The texture of this scrub is not at all what I was expecting. It is like strawberry jam! It's thick, yet kind of soupy. It's also sort of sticky; there's a string of product that follows your finger after you dip it into the jar. It really is like a thick, syrupy jam. I'm sort of obsessed with it because it's unlike any other scrub I've ever used.

As you can see, there are actual strawberry seeds in this product. They're more for effect though, since the sugar crystals are what actually do the exfoliating. They're hard to see here but trust me, you can feel the sugar on your face when you're working this scrub into your skin.

Before I get into how this has scrub has been working for me, I want to talk about the scent. Absolutely delicious. It smells like strawberry purée, or a strawberry smoothie. Not a fake strawberry smoothie, but an actual strawberry smoothie. The fragrance level is medium-strong. Not "singe your eyelashes off" strong, but you will definitely notice it when you're using this product.

OK, so let's talk about performance. Like I mentioned earlier, TONYMOLY suggests that you apply this product to your dry face (like a cleansing oil). And now that I've used this scrub several times, I can see why. If you get your face wet before you apply this scrub, the sugar will break down too easily and you won't get much exfoliation. So I definitely suggest that you apply it to a 100% dry face.

I'm not going to lie--it feels a little strange to apply this to my dry face. Since it's sticky and syrupy, it makes me feel like I'm rubbing maple syrup mixed with sugar onto my skin. But once you get past that, and start to work it into your skin, you'll find that the sugar crystals do a nice job at exfoliation. This scrub isn't super densely packed with sugar (I still give the high base-to-exfoliator ratio award to my beloved, holy grail St. Ives Green Tea Scrub) but it's definitely enough to make my skin feel extremely soft and smooth after rinsing.

Speaking of rinsing, despite the sticky, syrupy texture, I find that this scrub rinses quite easily. There is only a very slight residue left behind (a very, very slightly oily residue, but after I pat my face dry, my skin just feels soft and hydrated, not oily).

After using this product, the thing I love the most is that my skin feels incredibly soft and smooth to the touch, and slightly more plump. I'm not sure if that's just psychological, but I swear my skin feels more plump to the touch after I use this scrub. Maybe it's that my skin it a bit more hydrated due to the strawberry and mushroom extracts in this formula? Perhaps that slight residue after rinsing does something "magical" to my skin? Well this line is called Magic Food. I kid, of course, but I'm sort of addicted to how my skin feels after I use this stuff.

For new readers, I have very oily skin (mostly in my T-zone). I find that, a few hours after using this product, my skin feels very hydrated, and it is slightly more oily than if I had not used this product. This could be great news to those of you who have normal-to-dry skin who are looking for a bit of hydration from your facial exfoliators. But if you have super oily skin and plan to apply makeup after using this product, you may want to use a cleanser after using this scrub, just to remove that extra residue. 

FINAL VERDICT: Will this scrub take the place of my St. Ives Green Tea Scrub? No. But I've been using the St. Ives for several years now, and sometimes you just want to mix it up. And there's a lot to love with about product. I love the packaging, the unique texture, the scent, and the way this scrub makes my skin feel after use. But I don't recommend using this scrub in the shower, since you need to apply it to dry skin and the packaging would be a mess to deal with in the shower (screw top lid, sticky product, wet hands...yeah, it would be a mess). So if you usually use your facial scrub in the shower, this one's not for you. But if you do your exfoliating at the sink, and you're willing to have a bit a patience, this could be worth considering. I definitely do not regret this purchase, and I would repurchase down the road. I have also been using this scrub on my hands/cuticles lately and it's love in that capacity as well. Especially if you suffer from dry hands--my hands don't feel dry at all after using this scrub (but they don't feel greasy/oily like when I use heavy, oil-based scrubs on my hands).

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.


  1. Nice review G. I don't know how I missed this one. I love scrubs for the face and body. Just added it my list which is ridiculous at this time. I really like the idea of using it as a hand scrub since my hands are extra dry this winter. I will try it on my face at night. My skin is super duper oily and I wouldn't dare use it before applying make up. I noticed a few new Tony Moly products on yeah I will be adding more products to my wish list.

  2. Thank you! I love Tony Moly and will give this product a try!

  3. Not sure I could pull the trigger on the price even at this discounted rate, but your review covers everything I was wondering about, even the part about using it at the sink vs in the shower! I am totally a shower scrubber, because sink-face tasks always drip down my arms, Splash onto my feet, and make me feel cold (when you shower your whole body is under hot water! Ahhh.) so thank you! I love the concept of KBeauty, but the cost of cute packaging is grief about the environment in my mind. I like seeing that something is made from recycled materials or is recyclable. That said, not everything i use is, just something I want to be mindful of. As for your scrubber-to-base ratio, have you tried Acure Brightening Facial Scrub? So gritty! I adore the earthy smell, and you can use it 2-3 times a week without getting your oil glands stimulated to start over-producing oil to compensate for dryness (hate when that happens. I'm trying to diminish and PREVENT breakouts not cause more!). So look into it.

  4. Ooh this scrub is so adorable! Definitely seems different from other ones I've tried. I like strawberry scents too. Just that price though...

    Thanks for the review, G!

  5. Ohh I love to see kbeauty reviews on Nouveau Cheap! Tony Moly really nails the fragrances; I have no idea how they do that, but omg their scents are incredible!


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